Pirate Coast
Essaouira (Mogador)

Leo notes

Pirate notes

Cristel notes

Wood in Essaouira: The Argan Tree

Strangely enough, Leo does not mention Mogador, an islands which was under Portuguese occupation in his days. He does however describes the nearby country side and its original vegetation:

"This region is very dry, with many rocky mountains, forests, valleys and small rivers. [..] There are a great many prickly trees which produce a fruit as large as the olives we get from Spain. In the local language, this fruit is called: "argan". It is used to make an oil, which smells dreadfully, but which is used for cooking and for lighting." (Leo, 72).


This unusual tree is still quite common in the Hea region. It is unusual both by its looks(argan leaves are rather coarse and prickly and the fruit does resemble an olive) and its inhabitants: goats feast on its fruit, climbing to its highest branches to reach the forbidden treasures. Yes, goats do climb; and yes they do fall... And the sight of so many long haired friends gathered in a tree strangely resembles an odd Christmas tree...

Locals lead their goat herds to feed on these trees. While the goats ruminate the fruit's pit and digest its rough skin, men are busy gathering the pit that the goats spit out. It is then used to make argan oil. This partnership between goat and man works to everyone's advantage- goats get a good meal, and men spare themselves the trouble of having to break through a very rough shell!